Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats Vs. Mets (9/7-9/9)

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Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Harvey (12-7, 2.60 ERA) vs. Jordan Zimmermann (12-8, 3.38) – 7:05 PM ET, MASN2

Over the weekend, all the talk around the “Dark Knight” has been about his innings limits. Lost in all of the news is that Harvey was excellent for the Mets in the month of August. In those four outings, he went 2-0 with a 0.33 ERA, giving up only one run in 27 innings of work.

However, in his last outing on September 2 against the Phillies, he had his fair share of struggles. In 6.1 innings, Harvey gave up four runs on nine hits, struck out nine, and walked one in a win, but he did battle through some dehydration. Harvey, who has held opponents to a .207 batting average this year away from home, has not lost in his seven starts. That loss came against the Nats on July 20 at Nats Park when he went seven innings, gave up five runs (two earned runs) on four hits, struck out two, and walked none.

Despite that rough outing, Harvey is 2-1 with a 0.98 in four starts against the Nats this season and he has a 0.99 ERA in eight career starts. Ian Desmond is 5-for-20 with a double and a home run against him.

While he might not be as dominant as Harvey was recently, Jordan Zimmermann has won each of his last four starts. Against the Braves on September 3, Zimmermann was given plenty of run support in a 15-1 Nats win. He went six innings, gave up one run on two hits, struck out five, and walked four on 87 pitches.

If there’s one thing to critique from Zimmermann from that game, it’s the four walks. Coming into the game, he had four combined walks in his previous four starts. However, Zimmermann has been effective at home this season as he is 7-3 with a 2.52 ERA in 16 starts at Nats Park (5-5, 4.67 in 12 road starts).

One of the issues for Zimmermann this year has been giving up home runs. His 18 home runs allowed are one shy of tying his career high in a season (2013). Against the Mets on August 2, the Nats’ right-hander gave up three home runs in a 5-2 loss at Citi Field. This year, Zimmermann is 1-1 in three starts against New York with a 4.26 ERA, but he is 8-6 against New York with a 3.16 ERA in 23 career outings. Daniel Murphy is 20-for-59 (.339) with four home runs and nine RBI’s against him.

Advantage: While I do expect Zimmermann to pitch well in this game since his only win against the Mets this year is at Nats Park, this is the kind of game and atmosphere that Harvey thrives in. This is especially the case when he is near his innings limit and he wants to make sure he’s not the reason the Mets miss the playoffs. Plus, Bryce Harper, who has three home runs in the last three games, is 0-for-17 against Harvey. If Harper can’t figure him out, the Mets will get a close win.

Next: Wednesday's Matchup